New Yorkers hit especially hard by the states strained economy may also have difficulty making ends meet. This can be especially troubling once the cold weather and snow come rolling into the Northeast. For that reason, the state has set up an important benefit program for those who need a little extra help this winter.
To help beat the cold, I want to remind New Yorkers about the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which is federally funded and overseen by the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The program, which was made available for the season on Tuesday, Nov. 12, is designed to help those paying an especially high percentage of their income toward energy costs. For more information about HEAP, visit this helpful site: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/.
HEAP ASSISTANCE CAN ADDRESS SEVERAL CHALLENGES
There are a number of ways HEAP can be helpful for New Yorkers facing economic hardship. Its available for those who need help paying for natural gas, oil, electricity, coal, propane and other methods used to heat their home. It can also be used to offset the cost of heat-related emergencies, repairs for heating equipment and to replace damaged furnaces; all of which may be outside of what individuals or a family normally budgets for month to month.
For those who may not need this important program themselves, be mindful of friends and family who might benefit from HEAP or other state resources. Spreading information about these safety-net options is critical to ensure the success of programs to assist struggling New Yorkers.
Applications can be submitted online at https://mybenefits.ny.gov/. You can call the HEAP Hotline at 1-800-342-3009 with questions.
HOME HEATING TIPS CAN TAKE THE EDGE OFF WINTER
The winter can bring with it some very low temperatures, and in order to keep our families warm and comfortable, there are important steps we can take to make sure everyone stays safe even while temperatures drop. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure heat registers, radiators and heaters are not blocked by furniture;
- Check for cracks or holes in windows, walls, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets or switches that might cause air to leak; and
- When shopping for new appliances, be mindful of the Energy Star efficiency label.
More tips on keeping household energy costs down may be found at the Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York state. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or email me at email@example.com.